Don’t underestimate VR in Medical Education

Nisha Burton Virtual & Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is ALREADY dramatically changing how Medical Professionals receive an education – and it doesn’t look like this trend will be ending anytime soon.

But let’s give you some proof to back up that claim.

As you know the medical industry has always been at the forefront of high-tech solutions. Therefore, this industry is more welcoming to new technologies than other industries. That is why Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the newest technologies to be widely adopted by the healthcare industry.

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VR is solving a multitude of issues when it comes to educating medical professionals:

  • Students can train from anywhere and are no longer constricted geographically
  • Different learning styles are more easily accommodated
  • Performance is increased exponentially

Keep reading to discover how VR is doing this. Perhaps along the way, you will get inspired about how these technologies could help your company!

Surgical Education in VR

Many industries are beginning to use VR for remote work and job training.

In the medical field, traditionally only a few students can peek over the surgeon’s shoulder during a surgical procedure.

With VR numerous students can observe surgical procedures all at once.

In the past, surgeons needed to perform 10-20 surgeries to become proficient in a procedure. 

The complexity of procedures has exponentially increased. Therefore, the number of surgeries needed to become proficient is now 50-100. 

A VR experience allows surgeons to stream their operations globally. Therefore, medical students can be present in the operation room from virtually anywhere in the world. 

Case Western University even teaches its medical students human anatomy with the HoloLens (a Mixed Reality headset). 

Medical education in VR creates measurable results

The Harvard Business Review recently found that surgeons trained in VR had a 230% increase in overall performance!

A study at UCLA tested the difference between training traditionally vs. in VR. The results were that medical students who trained in VR scored significantly higher. 

During the study, 20 participants were randomly assigned to two groups of 10. One group trained with the Osso VR software, and the other group used conventional training. 

In this experiment, the student performing the procedure was filmed.

The evaluator who reviewed the recordings did not know if the participants learned through VR or traditional training methods. 

The study results found that the VR group’s performance was significantly better. The VR trainees scored 130% higher than the ones trained through conventional means. 

They also found that the VR group completed the steps with 38% more accuracy. And finished the procedure 20% faster. 

Osso VR for practicing surgeries

 ‘Osso VR’ is used by about a thousand surgeons monthly to practice surgeries in an immersive environment. 

More than 20 teaching hospitals eight of the top medical device companies use it.

Osso VR provides risk-free practice sessions as well as performance analytics. 

In the Covid-19 era, Osso VR has played a large role in bridging distances. Surgical students can learn without having to travel to training sessions or conferences. 

One of the best parts is that it can be used in group settings or in one-on-one environments. 

The company stated that its main focus is to increase access for hands-on training. More training equals better patient outcomes. 

Virtual Reality training for Army Medics

US Army Medics are also exploring medical education in VR.

Military contractor ECS received funding from the federal Small Business Innovation Research program to create a pilot VR training program for US Army Medics. 

This training program consists of:

  • Multi-player integration
  • STE integration
  • An instructor dashboard
  • And a training effectiveness evaluation 

The use of haptic feedback gloves will take the program to the next level. Haptics enhance the simulation by enabling trainees to feel the sensation of holding virtual tools. 

For now, the project is still in its building phase. If it is effective, it could be rolled out for wider use and integrated into the Army’s Tactical Casualty Combat Care procedures. 

Orthopedic Surgical Training with ‘Fundamental VR’

Fundamental VR is a company specializing in VR medical education. It recently finished a $5.6 million funding round to develop this surgical training and data analysis platform.

Various medical institutions, including UCLA and Mayo Clinic in the US, UCLH in the UK, and Sana in Germany, have adopted this technology. 

The initial training packages focus on orthopedic surgical departments. 

Surgeries that this product currently supports are:

  • Spinal Pedicle Screw
  • Total Hip Arthroplasty (Posterior)
  • Total Hip Arthroplasty (Anterior) 
  • Total Knee Arthroplasty

This is just the beginning of surgical training using VR/AR

As you can begin to see, medical VR education has endless applications.

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Even though the field is relatively new, we can already see so many examples of VR’s positive impact on surgeons’ work and education. 

This article only begins to cover the benefits of VR in the medical industry – if you want to read more case studies check this article out

As this technology continues to become more affordable, it will be widely adopted. Immersive technologies are already coming to the forefront of the medical industry. 

In the near future, VR will make the healthcare industry more accurate and cost-effective! 

If you want your company to become an industry leader in these technologies at Reflective Brands, we want to help

We offer complimentary consultations and work with your team in any development stage – from brainstorming through development and launch. Reach out to find out more!